Gaysorn’s new art gallery is also a haven for whisky and cigar aficionados
A wood-framed glass door on the first floor of the recently rebranded Gaysorn Village separates the mall’s boutiques from Duke, a warehouse-like space covered in paintings and sculptures. Hundreds of vibrant artworks and sculptures, from the likes of Sakarin Krue-On and Manit Srisuwan, speckle the raw concrete walls and floor. All were curated by Tawatchai Somkong, editor-in-chief of Fine Art Magazine and a friend of the Water Library Group, the bright minds behind not just Duke, but some of the city’s top food and beverage outlets as well. And that, in fact, should be an indication that this is no ordinary gallery.
Duke also doubles as an exclusive whisky and cigar lounge. At the back of the gallery, behind small tables surrounded by rich leather chairs and sofas, stands a bar stocked with some of the most premium spirits in town, many exclusive to Duke and not all whisky. Smoky Speyside single malts, such as the very rare Balvenie 30 Year Old (B5,000/glass), whiskies from the Highlands such as Glenfiddich 12 Year Old (B330/glass), and even lesser-known single malts from Taiwan, Japan, and France are available. To a serious spirits drinker, however, some of the rarer finds will be of greater interest. These include a currently off-menu 30 year-old Gelas Bas Almagnac, which has a beautiful fig-like sweetness on the nose and a surprisingly light body, as well as Clearach from Michel Couvreur—a sweet, floral French Scotch aged in old sherry casks that goes down smooth (B690 glass/B8,600 bottle).
The drinks list isn’t limited to neat spirits, either. The lounge offers a wide selection of weizens, lambics, lagers, and bocks from Belgium and Germany; a handful of classic cocktails made with premium ingredients—from the Negroni to the Boulevardier; and wine and champagne as well. And as the project seeks to link the parallel lines of art appreciation and whisky and cigar appreciation, there’s no shortage of imported tobacco to choose from, including Cuban Cohibas (B1,800-2,400) and Dominicans from Davidoff and Cusano.
Of course, the best privileges—access to Duke’s private rooms, which are filled out with the finest of the lounge’s fine art, the plushest of its plush leather seating, and high-quality ventilation systems that leave nary a trace of smoke—come with membership. Duke offers three tiers for members, starting at B50,000 for its Silver package and rising to B300,000 per year for the highest tier, Platinum. All three offer absolute privacy. There’s no CCTV here, and if they wish members can use exclusive washrooms and take elevators that lead directly from the gallery to the parking lot, so they never even have to step foot in the mall if they so choose.
Duke doesn’t just offer an alternative perspective to contemporary Thai art—in just three months, it has already reinterpreted the relationship between art and life’s indulgences.
1F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd.
Tel: 094 647 8888 | Open daily: 11am-midnight